Motion or Mediate?

Divorce can be difficult, and at various points in your case, issues can arise that will require a reaction.  If the parties cannot agree, then they are left with a few options. Two of the most common options are to either file a motion with the Court or to mediate the matter. 

Motions are applications that are made to the Court. Formal paperwork is prepared on your behalf setting forth the assistance that you are seeking and fully explaining the basis for that relief. The other party then must be sent those documents, and they are given an opportunity to respond (and in some cases ask the court for its assistance on other issues). Once the Court has received both parties’ positions on the issues the matter will be scheduled for a “motion hearing,” in which limited arguments will be made on your behalf by your attorney. Often, a court will direct that the parties attend mediation at that time to address the issues. In certain circumstances, a court can schedule the matter for a more formal hearing where testimony will be taken (similar to a trial, but limited to the issue raised in the motion papers). At some point after the hearing, the Court will decide the issues raised in the motion.

However, due to the substantial backlog in many of the counties in New Jersey, people are waiting for months at a time before their motion is addressed, and even longer before receiving a decision on the issues raised in that motion. This can cause stress and anguish for parties.

A potential alternative to filing motions to the Court is to attend mediation, in which the parties present their issues to a neutral party (the mediator), who can hopefully assist in facilitating a resolution between the parties. In many instances, even when the motion is filed, courts will require mediation prior to ruling. There can be considerable benefits to parties resolving their issues amongst themselves without having a court direct them as to what to do, as mediation gives parties the opportunity to have a say in how their particular situation can be resolved. 

The attorneys at Cohn Lifland, can assist you in determining what path to take in addressing your issues. In certain matters, filing a motion makes sense. In other instances, it may be more prudent to mediate the issue. If you have questions as to whether it is more appropriate to file a motion or to mediate an issue, the lawyers at Cohn Lifland have expertise to guide you in your decision.